April 24 2013
In Sub-Saharan Africa, illness and death from malaria remain harsh realities. While the psychological and social consequences are keenly felt by those living in countries where the malady is most endemic, the economic implications are less well understood.
Our ongoing work on malaria shows that tackling the illness in this region will not only have positive effects for the economy as a whole, but possibly also a redistributive effect—slowing down the rising income inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa. As people across the globe mark World Malaria Day 2013 on April 25, the economics of the disease should be part of the discussion.
Spending money on malaria reduction is, from an economic perspective, a long-term investment. Whilst the effects of increasing the use of bed nets or other preventative interventions on public health are immediately visible, it will take decades before we can observe a visible impact on the economy.